Microsoft Visio, Lucidspark, and Migrating from Lucidchart

Microsoft Visio and Lucidchart are both online diagramming and charting software. Lucidspark is virtual whiteboard software that allows users to brainstorm and collaborate, and at Emerson, is primarily used by Speech@Emerson as a Jamboard alternative. Emerson is migrating away from Lucidchart and to Microsoft Visio.

Microsoft Visio Online

All Emerson users can log into Visio. To do this, simply go to the Microsoft Visio login page and log in with your Emerson email address and password. You have logged into the Office 365 online version of Visio, which is compatible with macOS and via all major browsers.

All individuals with an @emerson.edu account are granted access to Microsoft Visio in Office 365. This version includes:

  • The ability to create unlimited diagrams/charts (as opposed to the free version of Lucidchart, which is limited to 3 editable documents)
  • Hundreds of shapes and basic icons
  • Dozens of templates for basic diagrams, including general diagrams and basic flowcharts, basic organization charts, and infographic timelines
  • Real-time collaboration, commenting, and sharing with the Visio web app

However, some diagram types and shapes are only available in higher level license types (Plan 1 and Plan 2). See Compare Visio Options to compare differences. We have a limited number of Plan 1 ("P1") licenses. If you find that you require a P1 license, please contact helpdesk@emerson.edu.

Lucid Licensing - Free Version Only Available

Prior to July 1st, 2024, Emerson College provided Lucidchart and Lucidspark ("Lucid Suite") paid licenses for users. These are no longer available. All licensed Lucidchart users will be converted to free licenses by June 1st, 2024. To migrate to Microsoft Visio, see below.

For charting and diagramming, as described above, Emerson IT officially supports Microsoft Visio, which is part of our Office 365 plan and has far more features than Lucidchart's free version. We encourage all users, including free users, to migrate to Microsoft Visio as we continue to move away from Lucidchart.

Lucidspark will remain supported for users who need virtual whiteboards.

Most users will find the free versions of Lucidchart and Lucidspark satisfactory.

Free Lucidchart features:

  • 3 editable Lucidchart documents
  • 60 shapes per Lucidchart document
  • 100 templates
  • Basic data linking
  • Presentation mode
  • Commenting

Free Lucidspark features:

  • 3 editable Lucidspark boards
  • Unlimited shapes per Lucidspark board
  • Freehand drawing
  • Commenting
  • Presentation mode
  • Gather
  • Sort
  • Paths

Login to Use the Free Version of Lucidspark and Lucidchart

The following instructions are for logging into the free versions of Lucidchart or Lucidspark. If you have never used Lucidchart before, we recommend against using it and encourage you to use Microsoft Visio instead.

  1. Visit lucidchart.com or lucidspark.com and click Log In.
  2. Under "or log in with", click Google and log in with your Emerson email address, which will take you through logging in with Duo.
  3. You will be presented with the various pricing tiers for Lucid. Click the "Start Free" button.
  4. Choose your profession/population (i.e., Staff > IT, etc.).
  5. You'll now be able to create new Lucidchart diagrams and new Lucidspark boards for free. Again, see above for feature limitations.

Converting from Lucidchart to Microsoft Visio

All licensed Lucidchart users will be converted to free licenses by June 1st, 2024. Therefore, if you require collaboration features or the ability to have more than 3 editable documents, you will need to migrate your Lucidchart documents to Microsoft Visio by this time.

If you fail to do this in time, you will still have access to all of your data, but only three of your most recently modified documents will be editable and the rest will be read-only, and any documents you shared with others will no longer be shared.

Depending on the shapes used in your Lucidchart documents, you may require a Visio P1 license to edit them in Visio, which you can request by emailing helpdesk@emerson.edu. You should only do this if you receive a licensing error when opening a migrated document. See below for more details.

Even if you were only using a free version of Lucidchart, we still encourage you to migrate to Microsoft Visio, as we are formally standardizing on that software and are moving away from Lucidchart.

To convert your documents from Lucidchart to Microsoft Visio:

  1. Log into lucidchart.com (login instructions above).
  2. On the left, go to Documents (these are documents that are owned by you. You should only migrate these, not ones shared with you - migrating those is the responsibility of their owner). Find the document you want to convert and open it.
  3. Click File > Export > Visio (VSDX). Save the file to a folder on your computer.
  4. Log into Microsoft Visio with your Emerson credentials.
  5. Click the "Home" icon in the top left.
  6. In the top right, click Upload and select the VSDX file you saved from Lucidchart.
  7. This will open the document in a separate tab. In the top right, click Edit Diagram > Edit in Browser. If you receive a "License required" error, you will need to email helpdesk@emerson.edu to request a Visio P1 license. Note: In some cases, documents may convert poorly. Unfortunately, this will require you to rebuild or rework the document.
  8. If you want to share the document with others, click File > Share > Share with people. Type in their email addresses and Send.
  9. If you return to the original tab with which you had opened Visio, after a few minutes, you will now see the file under Home and under My Content. Note that if you delete a file, it may still display in your Recent Content or Quick Access, but you will be unable to open it. These files are stored in your Microsoft One Drive, which you can access any time by logging into office.com.

Microsoft Visio Desktop App

By default, we do not offer the Visio desktop app. We believe that the Office 365 Online version of Visio will meet everyone's needs across platform. The Desktop app is only available for Windows and for users with Plan 2 ("P2") licenses. This would require a special purchase and will be reviewed as necessary.

The following instructions are for those special cases of users with P2 licenses. Before proceeding, please install Microsoft Office on your computer with our instructions. Make sure this is installed and activated before installing Visio.

  1. Log into Microsoft Visio online and click the Home icon in the top left.
  2. In the top right, click Install and more > Install Microsoft 365 apps.
  3. Click Apps & Devices on the left.
  4. Click Install Visio on the right. This will download OfficeSetup.exe to your Download folder. Launch that file. A Microsoft installer will launch.
  5. Follow all prompts to complete the install. When complete, you will see "You're all set!"
  6. Click the Windows button in the bottom left of Windows, search for "Visio," and launch the app.
  7. After a moment, you will be prompted with "Sign in to get started with Visio." Click "Sign in or create account" and log in with your Emerson email and password.

If you encounter any errors with licensing, close out of Visio, open another Office app such as Microsoft Word, and at the top, log out, and log back in with your Emerson credentials. Then close out and open Visio again, and Visio Professional should be licensed.

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